Dark Mode is a display feature, provided by virtually every single tech giant. It has been available as a theme on Facebook, Google or Instagram and many other apps. What is Dark Mode? What are the advantages of using it? And how to enable it? Find out everything you need to know about the super popular Dark Mode.
Dark Mode – what is it?
Dark Mode is a convenient optional display setting, currently available in most of the operating systems, applications and browsers. It is an option which, when activated, changes the colour settings of the interface to black or dark. In Dark Mode, white or light greyish text and graphics are displayed against a black background, instead of black or dark text and graphics displayed on the regular light background, as it is typical in the traditional screen settings.
Should you enable Dark Mode?
Dark Mode isn’t just a response to the changing design trends, but, more importantly, a tool meant to enhance the functionality and convenience of using screen devices. It positively impacts the usability of apps and browsers, especially at night. One of the most commonly known advantages of Dark Mode, also called Dark Theme or black mode, is that it’s supposed to save energy consumption on OLED-type screens, thus making the battery last longer. This is due to the fact that on OLED panels, each pixel is individually lit. In the traditional white mode setting, all of the pixels are turned on, whereas with the activation of Dark Mode, most of the pixels are turned off, which naturally lowers the energy consumption and makes the battery last longer.
Another benefit of using Dark Mode is that it cuts down the exposure to blue light emitted by your device. Excessive exposure to blue light negatively impacts the condition of your eyes by causing eye strain and irritation, as well as suppressing the secretion of melatonin, a hormone associated with maintaining a regular sleep cycle. Reducing the blue light exposure will therefore have a positive effect on your eyes and overall health.
On the other hand, while many people count the benefits of using Dark Mode, some may find it unsuitable and uncomfortable. According to the principles of human physiology, our eyes naturally adapt to the amount of light that’s available at a given moment. When looking at a white background, the pupil remains narrow, which makes the vision sharper and more focused. On top of that, white text displayed against a black background may appear blurred for people suffering from certain eye conditions, such as astigmatism or myopia.
As it turns out, Dark Mode has both advantages and disadvantages, and choosing whether or not to use it is a personal choice.
Dark Mode and Night Mode – is it really the same? How to enable them?
Dark Mode is often referred to as ‘Night Mode’, but in fact, the two are not exactly the same thing. While the black background in Dark Mode might be comfortable in low-light settings, it is actually the Night Mode that should be used in the dark or at night.
How are the two options different? Night Mode doesn’t turn the interface black. When Night Mode is enabled, the screen takes a rather yellowish tone, which aims to reduce the stark contrast and glare. The warmer tones reduce eye strain and, like Dark Mode, Night Mode also reduces blue light emission, which helps fall asleep and contributes to overall sleep quality.
What distinguishes Night Mode from Dark Mode is also the possibility to set up automatic Night Mode enabling at a specific time. You don’t have to constantly work on the yellow screen, nor to remember to turn it on when it gets dark. If you set up the setting once, it will automatically adjust your screen to daytime or nighttime.
Dark Mode on iPhone and Android phones
In order to keep up with the times, smartphone developers have begun to introduce the Dark Mode function, and it took off immediately. Dark Mode is available on smartphones running on Android 8.1 or higher and all iPhone releases starting from iPhone X.
To activate Dark Mode on Android phones, you need to open the Settings app on your device and go to the ‘Display’ settings. Once you do that, you’ll see different options, including ‘Dark Mode’, that you will be able to enable or disable by swiping on/off, as you usually do, and it will apply the setting automatically. Other than the overall interface of your smartphone, you can also enable the Dark Mode feature for some apps, such as Google or YouTube.
The process is similar on Apple smartphones. To turn on Dark Mode, go into Settings, then tap on ‘Display and brightness’ and select ‘Dark’ from the two options. You can also access Dark Mode from Control Center and turn it on and off from there.
In both these smartphones, you will also be able to automatically schedule turning Dark Mode on and off. If you don’t want to completely give up on the white display, you can set a schedule for it and choose a specific time when you want it to go into Dark Mode. To do so, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Display and brightness’, and select ‘Automatic’. Then, tap ‘Options’ to select or personalise a Dark Mode schedule.
Dark Mode on Windows 10
Dark Mode is not a novelty when it comes to devices running on Windows 10 and above, but the feature has recently been improved so that all the elements of the interface are coherent. Users are able to enjoy updated colour themes that can be customised in various ways.
To enable Dark Mode on Windows 10, go into ‘Settings’ > ‘Personalisation’, where you will see different functions, like ‘Background’, ‘Font’ or ‘Colours’. Go into ‘Colours’ and open the drop down menu to select ‘Choose your colour’, then pick ‘Dark’, ‘Light’, or ‘Custom’. Choose the ‘Custom’ option if you rather mix and match the colour themes depending on the apps you’re using. It allows you to select a given colour theme for, for example, Windows, and a different one for applications. On top of that, you can also choose the main colour to appear on Taskbar or Start Menu.
Dark Mode is becoming an essential feature for most apps and browsers. It is available in the settings of most Google products, as well as social media portals such as Facebook or Instagram. Find out how to enable Dark Mode on most commonly used apps and features.
Facebook app may enable Dark Mode automatically if the rest of the device has Dark Mode turned on. However, if you still need to set it up manually, here’s how it’s done on the mobile version. After logging in, click the ‘Menu’ icon – three horizontal lines, located in the top-right corner of the screen. Then, scroll down to find the ‘Dark Mode’ option. Once you select that, it will immediately change the theme to dark.
To enable Dark Mode on Facebook using desktop, after you’ve logged in, click on the down-facing arrow symbol, located in the top-right corner, which will unfold a list of options. Click on ‘Display and accessibility’ and, below ‘Dark Mode’, simply select ‘On’.
Dark Mode on Messenger app
Enabling Dark Mode on Messenger is just as simple as it is with its mother-app, Facebook. To change the background from white to black on Messenger, click on your profile picture in the top-left corner, then click ‘Preferences’. You will see the options menu with ‘Dark Mode’ as the first one from the list. Just like on Facebook, Dark Mode can be turned on and off both automatically through settings or manually.
Dark Mode on Instagram
The list of apps that offer Dark Mode as one of their features couldn’t be complete without Instagram, one of the most popular social media channels. Many users find Dark Mode slicker and more appealing, and use it merely for aesthetic reasons. It is no surprise then that this particular social media service, which is considered to be the most concerned with looks and appearance, must include it in their options.
As with the other apps mentioned above, Dark Mode on Instagram is sensitive to system settings, and it will automatically change once you set up Dark Mode in your device settings. If you want to enable Dark Mode only on Instagram, you’ll need to tap on your profile picture in the bottom right to go into your profile. Then, click the ‘Menu’ icon – three horizontal lines, in the top right of the screen. Tap on ‘Settings’, then ‘Theme’, and choose between dark and light modes.
Dark Mode on YouTube
The way of turning on Dark Mode on YouTube will vary depending on the device you’re using and its operating system. However, all of these ways are fairly intuitive and not much different from one another. To activate Dark Mode on the web, click on the profile icon of your Google account, found in the top-right corner of the page. Then, select the ‘Appearance: Device theme’ option in the menu. You’ll see the three options there: ‘Use device theme’, ‘Dark theme’, and ‘Light theme’.
Enabling Dark Mode on the YouTube app on smartphones will slightly vary depending on whether you’re using Android or iOS, and the specific system software.
In the case of Android 10 and higher, you’ll need to tap on your profile picture in the top-right of the screen, then select the ‘Settings’ options from the menu. From there, choose ‘General’, then ‘Appearance’ to see the theme options pop up. In other versions of Android the process is even simpler: you’ll be able to change the theme to dark right after you click ‘General’.
The process is fairly similar for users of iOS devices. After tapping on your profile pictures or initials, go into ‘Settings’ and select the ‘Appearance’ options from the menu. There, you’ll be able to change the theme to dark.
Dark Mode on Google and Gmail
Google and Gmail settings also cater for their users and offer dark and light themes. How to enable a given theme will depend on whether you’re on mobile or desktop.
To change the Google theme on desktop, open the Google starting page and click on ‘Settings’ on the toolbar at the bottom of the page. You’ll see the option to enable Dark Theme at the bottom of the list.
To enable Dark Mode on the Google smartphone app, tap on the three dots icon in the top-right corner of your browser, then select ‘Settings’ and ‘Theme’.
To turn on Dark Mode on the Gmail mobile app, go into the app and tap on the ‘Menu’ icon – three horizontal lines in the top-left corner. Swipe down to go into ‘Settings’, then tap on ‘General’ and ‘Theme’, and you’ll see the option to change the theme to dark.
It’s worth mentioning that, other than the classic light and Dark Modes, the web version of Gmail offers many other colour themes. To enable Dark Mode, go into your Gmail account and click on the ‘Settings’ icon in the top-right corner, next to the ‘Support’ and ‘Google apps’ icons. You’ll see quick settings that include themes. Click on ‘View all’ to find Dark Mode or any other theme you fancy.
Dark Mode on Chrome and other browsers
Dark Mode is not just an app feature – you can set up Dark Mode in most of the browsers, including Opera, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Chrome. The latter is probably the most common option, hence we’ll use that as an example here.
To turn on Dark Mode on Google Chrome, open the browser and click on the three dots icon in the top-right corner of the screen. From the drop-down menu, select ‘Settings’, then click on ‘Appearance’ on the list on the left hand side. Click on ‘Theme’ and a new tab will open, where you’ll see a variety of themes, including different Dark Themes, that can be easily added to Chrome. On the left hand side, you’ll also see a search bar where you can type in ‘Dark Mode’ or ‘Dark Theme’ to find your preferred style.
Google Maps is another one of Google apps that enables you to use Dark Mode.
To turn on Dark Mode on Google Maps on iOS devices, tap on your profile picture or initial > ‘Settings’ > ‘Dark Mode’. There, you’ll be able to turn it on, off, or choose ‘Same as device setting’ if you want the app to follow iOS system appearance settings.
On Android phones, the option is only available on devices using Android 10, Android Q or higher.
To turn Dark Mode on on Android, go into the application and tap on your profile picture or initials, found in the top-right corner. Then, tap on ‘Setting’ > ‘Theme’ and select one of the following options: ‘Always in light theme’, ‘Always in dark theme’, or ‘Same as device theme’.
In addition to this, Google Maps has also a set of navigation settings, where you’ll find some more advanced options, such as ‘Colour scheme’. The feature will only change the map display during navigation. It can be set up as ‘Day’, ‘Night’, or ‘Automatic’ – which will switch according to the time of the day.
Dark Mode is an incredibly popular feature, available in most of the widely used apps, services and browsers. Users’ preference for Dark Mode comes down to the enhanced appearance of the theme, as well as the advantages of saving battery life and reducing eye strain. The option’s accessibility, easiness of use and flexibility are some of the benefits that make it worthwhile to think about testing it out on your device.